Parenting Award in Brazil promotes good home visiting practices during the pandemic
100 Brazilian home visitors have been awarded for good practices in supporting families during the COVID-19 pandemic by the Maria Cecília Souto Vidigal Foundation and the Bernard van Leer Foundation.
After the COVID-19 outbreak, finding safe solutions to enhance child development has become a priority for home visiting programmes. The Parenting Award: Good Home Visitor Practices during the Pandemic sought to identify and celebrate committed professionals who continued to support vulnerable families in Brazil.
Home visiting is an effective strategy to directly connect people who are at risk with key health and education social services. Vulnerable populations targeted for home visiting programmes include: pregnant women, postpartum mothers, and parents with babies or young children. These professionals develop effective approaches to provide care, protection and stimulation that strengthen the bond between parent and child. Their guidance also contributes towards reducing levels of violence, inequality and poverty for families with young children.
The award-winning experiences gave rise to a video series, good practices booklet Parenting: Home visitor practices adapted to the pandemic and infographic (in Portuguese). Data collected during the project showed that northeast Brazil has programmes that successfully adapted to the pandemic (47%), followed by the southeast region (25%). 85% of successful stories are part of Brazil’s Criança Feliz (Happy Child) Programme, established by the Federal Government in 2016. 92% of the awards were handed out to women, demonstrating that women are leading this work in most areas.
The Parenting Award project has stimulated a discussion how to strategically improve home visiting services. Digital platforms, such as video, texting, or online content were common resources used by home visitors during the pandemic when long-distance travel was not feasible. However, scaling these approaches still face significant barriers including: restrictions on access to internet and telephone networks, and short-term contracts for frontline workers, which can interrupt the relationship between home visitors and families.